A LAWYER and known critic of the Garcias sought to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Rep. Gwen Garcia (Cebu, 3rd) for “falsely” declaring that she is eligible to run for governor.

In a petition filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Manila last Oct. 22, Edgar Gica alleged that Garcia misrepresented herself when she said under oath in her COC that she is eligible to run for governor and that she has not been found guilty of any offense that carries the penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office, which has become final and executory.

He cited Garcia’s dismissal from government service after being found guilty of grave misconduct by the Office of the Ombudsman on Dec. 19, 2017 over the alleged unauthorized P24.47-million project to backfill a largely underwater Balili property in 2012.

The dismissal order carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.

Who is Gica?

“In this case, respondent had been found guilty of grave misconduct by a final judgment and punished with dismissal from service with all its accessory penalities, including perpetual disqualification from holding public office,” Gica’s petition read.

“Perpetual disqualification to hold public office is a material fact involving eligibility, which constitutes misrepresentation, rendering her COC void from the beginning since she was not eligible to run for any public office at the time she filed the same,” he added.

Gica was the lawyer of former vice governor John Gregory Osmeña when the latter ran against Garcia for governor in 2004. He is also the father of Dumanjug Mayor Efren Guntrano Gica, the archrival of Garcia’s younger brother Nelson.

When sought for comment on the petition, Garcia said Gica is “either grossly misinformed, or he chooses to peddle fake news.”

“Being a lawyer, he should know that the case is still pending before the Court of Appeals and thus, it is NOT FINAL nor executory. But I guess desperate people are entitled to their own desperate ploys,” she said in a text message sent to SunStar Cebu.

In the same petition, Gica insisted that decisions of the Ombudsman in administrative cases may be considered final and executory on the ground that their implementation is “a matter of right.”

Aside from Garcia, petitions to cancel the COC of her brother, lawyer Pablo John Garcia, for third district congressmen and the COC of Cebu City Councilors Alvin Arcilla and Sisino Andales were also filed earlier this week. More about this story here.